Anti-hate march draws Calgarians calling for change
CALGARY -- More than 100 people attended a march against hate crimes in northeast Calgary Saturday.
A group of Pakistani-Canadians organized the event to call for an end to racism and bigotry just days after a deadly attack in London, Ontario.
They say the hatred that police believe sparked that attack isn't exclusive to any Canadian city.
"Hate crimes (are) not just the problem of that family (in London)," Shahnaz Munir said. "Hate crimes and racism are now growing day by day here."
Many Calgarians say Islamophobia, anti-Indigenous and Asian hate is only rising in the city.
Incidents earlier this year have led to residents speaking out about their own experiences. Munir says it's something many in the Pakistani community deal with daily.
"Everyone is facing it," she said. "In schools, our kids are facing it in universities, people are facing it in workplaces. Everywhere."
Association executive Muhammad Malik agreed.
"Our kids – university or school-going – they're scared to go out alone," he said.
There have been some steps taken to curb the hatred. Friday's provincial announcement aimed at protecting places of worship and gathering got a thumbs up from the association. But Saturday, they also pointed out not everyone in the community attends a mosque or a temple.
They would rather the government focus on ground-level changes that could potentially stop hatred before it can fully develop.
"Lots of speeches have been given," Munir said. "Now it's time to take action."
Black and Indigenous speakers were also in attendance at the march.
Activist Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes says as she continues to mourn the loss of hundreds of children in residential schools, she believes the country has a long way to go before "real reconciliation."
"Within the Indigenous community, we have suffered a lot of loss," she said. "We understand the sorrow. We understand the anger and the frustration. But I also want to share the hope and the light that we can make the world better for our kids."